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CO Reports: Officer, that's not venison hanging in that tree

Area MnDNR Conservation Officer Weekly Reports - May 26, 2023

Photo illustration / Shutterstock, Inc.

District 11 - St. Cloud area

CO (Conservation Officer) Keith Bertram (Long Prairie) responded to a TIP (Turn-In-Poachers) call of a deer hanging in a tree, hidden behind a residence. Bertram arrived to find out the deer was actually a Hereford cow.

CO Stephen Westby (Little Falls) worked area lakes and rivers for boating and angling activities. Time was spent at the 2023 Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley working on defensive tactics and other use-of-force training. Calls regarding angler trespassing and litter were handled. Please verify all safety equipment is with you onboard all watercrafts, including paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes.


CO Tou Vang (Pierz) assisted with Academy instruction at Camp Ripley.

CO Todd VanderWeyst (Paynesville) assisted other agencies with calls. He took complaints of bass out of season and overlimits. ATV activity in the area also has increased with more side-by-sides (Class 2) operating in areas where they are not allowed.

CO Trent Anderson (St. Cloud) focused on angling enforcement for the week. Time was spent patrolling area lakes and rivers for angling, boating, and bow fishing activity. Nuisance-animal complaints and public-waterway investigations were completed. Enforcement action taken for the week included angling without a license and operating an OHM where prohibited.

District 9 - Brainerd area


CO Chelsey Best (Pequot Lakes) spent the week on fishing and ATV enforcement. Multiple nuisance/injured-wildlife calls were responded to, including a live swan caught in a leech trap. Enforcement action was taken for no OHM and ORV registration, and kids without helmets on ATVs.

CO Jim Guida (Brainerd) worked angling and boating activity this week. Numerous boaters and anglers were contacted. A reminder to check registration and safety equipment prior to going on the water. Guida monitored an angling bite on an area lake for overlimits and double-tripping.


CO Andrew Ladzinski (Pine River) patrolled area lakes for angling activity. He fielded questions regarding nuisance foxes. He followed up with ongoing TIP complaints of CWD attractant-ban violations.

CO Tony Flerlage (Crosby) checked anglers catching a variety of species. He patrolled the Cuyuna Rec Area by bike, finding many people enjoying the area. He attended the LEMA ceremony at the Minnesota Peace Officer Memorial with Honor Guard duties.


CO Andrew Dirks (CCSRA) spent time instructing for the Academy at Camp Ripley and handled various wildlife-related complaints throughout the week.

District 2 - Bemidji area

CO Brice Vollbrecht (Bemidji #1) monitored angling activity on area lakes. Time was spent working a detail on Upper Red Lake and assisting the DNR Forestry Division.

CO Chris Vinton (Perham) reports assisting with the Menahga School’s fourth-grade classes’ “Hooked on Fishing not Drugs” kids fishing day. COs Jordan Anderson, Al Peterson and RTO Greg Oldakowski assisted many local volunteers making for a successful day. Area lakes and public accesses were checked for AIS and angling compliance. Enforcement action was taken for parking issues at area public water accesses, failure to display watercraft registration and no angling license in possession. An area beekeeper was forced to protect their bees and take a bear that was causing damage to a bee yard. The bear was given to a local individual so it would not go to waste.


CO Jake Swedberg (Detroit Lakes) spent the week checking anglers and attending training. He attended training in the metro to become a DMT operator to be able to process DUI/BUI cases more smoothly. Swedberg also assisted with an area AIS detail in the Baudette area. Compliance was very good with only a few violations needing to be addressed.

CO Brett Fox (Bemidji #2) spent the week working ATV, boating, and sport fishing enforcement. Fox also spent time working an AIS check station near Lake of the Woods. Enforcement action was taken for ATV and boat registration issues, no angling license in possession, and failure to remove a watercraft drain plug.

CO Al Peterson (Osage) followed up on a trespass case. He also worked fishing enforcement, a wildlife-related call and ongoing cases.


District 4 - Walker area

CO Jordan Anderson (Wadena) spent time focusing on fishing and ATV enforcement in the Wadena and Park Rapids stations. Enforcement action was taken for a variety of ATV, boating, and burning violations. Pay attention to air quality alerts as they now often trigger a stop to burning permit activations.

CO Patrick McGowan (Walker) worked busy area lakes throughout the week. Fishing success varied, with some walleyes and crappies being caught. Enforcement action was taken for numerous boating violations and an overlimit of walleyes.

CO Mark Mathy (Cass Lake) continued to primarily check anglers. Success was spotty and it was location-dependent. Mathy took a complaint of minnow theft out of a commercial minnow trap and received a nuisance-beaver complaint. Enforcement action was taken for angling and boating violations.

CO Corey Sura (Remer) worked ATV and angling enforcement throughout his patrol station and attended a local “Big Wheels” event for students at Northland Community School. An Upper Red Lake shift was worked where enforcement action was taken for several instances of over-possession limits, and overlimits of walleyes over 17 inches. One individual was observed flicking a cigarette butt into the lake and received a citation for littering. ATV-related enforcement action was taking for individuals operating Class II ATVs on a state highway. Additional violations handled throughout the week included fishing without a license and possession of illegal-length northern pike.

CO Jacque Hughes (Longville) checked angling and ATV activity. She also investigated an overlimit TIP.

CO Adam Seifermann (Staples) reports seeing anglers having luck with panfish on local lakes and rivers. He also reports attending training, investigating TIP calls and doing a K9 demonstration for a school group. Enforcement action consisted of no angling license in possession, operating an unlicensed watercraft, no personal flotation device and PWC violations.

District 7 - Grand Rapids area

CO Thomas Sutherland (Grand Rapids) worked a busy first week of the fishing season in the Itasca County area, with many anglers on area lakes after a not-so-distant winter. Sutherland took enforcement action for angling without a license, not having enough life jackets on board a watercraft, possessing a protected slot walleye, and operating an unregistered watercraft.

CO Brian Holt (Grand Rapids) worked angling and boating safety throughout the previous week. Time was also spent monitoring AIS compliance and recreational vehicles. Holt attended D.A.R.E. graduation for fifth-grade students in the Grand Rapids and Cohasset schools. Students were able to ask questions about being a conservation officer and explore equipment used by COs.

CO Taylor Hochstein (Hill City) continued to focus on fishing and boating activities Water is warming fast and the panfish bite is picking up. People also found success on local trout lakes. Several violations were addressed, including angling without a license, extra lines, and illegal-length fish.

District 10 - Mille Lacs area

CO Victoria Griffith (Isle) worked ATV and angling activity. Anglers were successful on the north end of Mille Lacs Lake. Enforcement action was taken for boat safety violations, fishing license violations, and ATV violations, including ATVs operating in a state park. Assistance was given to local agencies.

CO Nate Benkofske (McGregor) checked anglers in the area. Enforcement action was taken for no life jackets, expired boat registration, no trout stamp, no angling license, illegal-length walleyes, and unattended lines. Benkofske gave a law and safety talk to an ATV safety class and provided assistance at several area car crashes.

CO Dan Starr (Onamia) worked fishing, boating, and ATV activities as warm weather finally showed up. A wolf-depredation case was investigated with three calves being killed in the Milaca area. Illegal-size walleyes, no fishing license, boat registration, and intoxicated boating were some of the violations found. Starr arrested an individual for fishing without a license, giving a false name, and having warrants in multiple states.

CO Ashley Whiteoak (Aitkin) spent time patrolling ATV and fishing activity. Enforcement action was taken for various ATV violations. She also assisted with a DNR event at a local elementary school and talked to fourth-graders about boating and ATV safety.

District 12 - Princeton area

CO Adam Stennett (Sauk Rapids) worked the fishing opener this week. The weather kept some anglers away but some success was seen in the station. A trespassing complaint was investigated. Equipment maintenance was completed and a law enforcement memorial program was attended in the City of Rice. Nuisance-animal and fish kill-related calls were fielded and forwarded to the appropriate DNR staff. A complaint of someone illegally camping on a WMA was also investigated. Enforcement action for the week included not having a throwable PFD on board a boat, failure to display current boat registration and fishing without a license in possession.

CO Mike Krauel (Mora) spent the week checking anglers. Krauel also attended Division training. Krauel also attended an AIS detail with K9 Bolt.

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